Investors continue to seek safety in gold, with over US$193mn inflows driving gold to top sector flows. Oil ETP inflows moderate as price surge defies underlying build-up in inventories. Copper inflows buck the industrial metals trend, as a modest rebound in risk appetite lifts prices...
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Investor defensiveness boosts ytd gold inflows over US$1.2bn. Although there are some early signs of a moderation in market turbulence, investors very much remain in a defensive stance, driving the eighth consecutive week of inflows into physical gold exchange traded products, totaling US$193.6mn last week. In the futures market, positioning also reflects ongoing optimism regarding the price of gold, with net longs rising by over 20% last week.
Oil ETPs receive inflows for 11th consecutive week. Crude oil benchmark prices (both Brent and WTI) managed to stay in positive territory above the US$30/bbl level last week, helping buoy investor sentiment. The oil price rallied in spite of another larger-than-expected build in stockpiles in the US last week, taking inventories to the highest level on record (EIA data goes back to 1982). And while Saudi Oil Minister Naimi saying that production cuts aren’t going to happen, it appears that rumours of another OPEC meeting in March to freeze production are keeping prices supported.
Inflows totalled US$9.0mn, the lowest in eight weeks. Platinum receives the largest inflows in 10 weeks, totaling US$6.5mn. Platinum has shrugged off some of the recent pessimism, recording strong gains as global auto sales remain robust. Despite US and Chinese auto sales at record levels, palladium has been the laggard in the precious metals sector, weakening over 12% on a ytd basis, compared with an average gain of around 11% for other precious metals in 2016.
Second week of inflows into diversified industrial metals ETPs as risk appetite rises. Although modest, last week’s inflows into broad basket industrial metals ETPs (US$2.6mn) represent the largest in 18 weeks. Copper also bucked the industrial metals trend recording the only inflows into individual metal ETPs. Copper ETPs received US$4.1mn, the largest in two weeks. Tighter demand- supply fundamentals are providing price support, with all metals rallying over the past month, with the exception of nickel (-2.4%).
Key events to watch this week. This week’s data sets the stage for the key upcoming central bank meetings in March for the European Central Bank and the US Federal Reserve. Eurozone CPI, which has disappointed in recent months could be the deciding factor for whether the ECB’s is able to meet market expectations by enacting fresh QE measures. Meanwhile, the focus in the US will be manufacturing and jobs data. A change in investor risk appetite and its impact on the US Dollar are the likely channel by which commodity markets will be influenced. If expectations of additional central bank stimulus rise, cyclical commodities should continue to lift. However, if the US data is positive, a more hawkish stance for the Fed is likely to buoy the USD and weigh on prices.